My name is Jane Eyre and my story really begins when I was ten years old.
I was living with my aunt, Mrs Reed, because my mother and father were
both dead. Mrs Reed was very rich and her house was large and beautiful,
but I was not happy there.
My three cousins, Eliza, John and Georgiana, were older than me. They
teased me, and never wanted to play with me. Sometimes they were very
cruel. I was afraid of them. Most of all, I was afraid of John Reed. He liked
to frighten me and he made me very unhappy. I often hid from him in a
small room. I liked to look at the pictures in the big books from the library
I felt happy and safe in my little room that day, because I knew that John
and his sisters were with their mother. But then John got bored and
decided to look for me.
'Where's Jane Eyre?' he shouted. I kept very quiet and hoped he would not
find me, as he was not a clever boy. But his sister, Eliza, soon found where I
'Here she is,' she called, and I had to come out. John grinned
unpleasantly when he saw me.
'What do you want?' I asked him.
He made me stand in front of him. He stared at me for a long time, and
then, suddenly, he hit me. 'Now go and stand by the door,' he said.
Now I was really frightened. I knew that John was going to hurt me.
I went and stood near the door.
'I'll teach you to take our property,' said John Reed, and he picked up a
large, heavy book.
At first I didn't know what he was going to do. Then he lifted his arm and I
realised that he was going to throw the book at me. I tried to get out of the
way, but I was too late. He threw the book straight at me, it hit me on the
head, and I fell.
'You wicked and cruel boy,' I shouted. 'Why do you want to hurt me?' I
touched my head. There was blood on it. 'Look what you have done!' I cried.
My words just made John Reed angrier. He ran across the room towards
me, and began to hit me again and again. I was very frightened, so I hit him
I don't know what I did to John Reed, but it hurt him. He started to call for
Mrs Reed heard the noise and hurried into the room. She didn't seem to
see the blood which ran down my face.
'Jane Eyre, you are a bad girl!' she cried. 'Why are you hitting poor John,
who is always so good to you?'
No one listened when I tried to say what John had done to me.
Mrs Reed told two servants to take me away.
'Take her to the red room and lock the door,' she told them.
The red room was cold and dark. A servant had told me that Mrs Reed's
husband had died in the room. Nobody ever went there at night.
I was very frightened. I cried for help, but nobody came.
'Please help me!' I shouted. 'Don't leave me here alone!'
Nobody came. I cried for a long time. I was more terrified with every
minute that went by. Then everything suddenly went black, and I think that
I fainted. I remembered nothing after that.
When I woke up, I was in my own bed. My head was hurting. The doctor
was sitting beside the bed. I felt very glad that someone who was not part of
the Reed family was in the room with me. 'What happened to me?' I asked
'You are ill, Jane,' the doctor answered. 'The servant says that you have
cried a lot. Why did you cry so much?'
'I cry because I am miserable,' I replied.
The doctor looked puzzled. 'What made her ill yesterday?' he asked the
'She fell, sir,' was the reply. I could not waste this opportunity. I wanted
the doctor to know the truth about my life with Mrs Reed and my cousins. 'I
was knocked down,' I said. 'But that did not make me ill. I was shut up in a
dark, cold room until after dark.'
The doctor sent the servant away, and then he asked me, 'Are you unhappy
here with your aunt and cousins?'
'Yes, I am,' I told him. 'I'm very unhappy.'
The doctor looked at me kindly. 'I see,' he said. 'Would you like to go
away to school?'
'Oh yes, I think that I would,' I answered.
The doctor looked at me again for a long time, and then went downstairs
to speak to Mrs Reed. Much later, Mrs Reed came to see me and told me
that she had decided to send me to school.
A few days later, I left my aunt's house to go to school. I knew that Mrs
Reed and my cousins were glad to see me leave.
They did not want me to go back for holidays. I had lived with them for as
long as I could remember, but I was not really sad to leave. 'Perhaps I'll be
happy at school,' I thought. 'Maybe there will be someone who likes me. I
could find some friends there.'